Every semester, a new course schedule is released, and with it comes an entirely new spectrum of topics for students to explore. One of the greatest appeals of higher education is that it can be molded to fit the goals and interests of each student — unless, of course, these goals and interests fall into a restricted category.
UT offers a host of courses each semester in over 170 departments. However, many students face difficulty in registering for the classes that interest them or, in some cases, the classes they need to fulfill their own course requirements due to restrictions based on college or major.
In order to give students autonomy over their education, UT needs to create a less restrictive registration process.
Motivations for students to take classes outside of their majors and colleges vary widely. Whether it be in the pursuit of a minor or certificate, a pending internal transfer, a course requirement or even plain old curiosity, the ability to have a more varied curriculum benefits students by widening the scope of their education.
Each student has requirements for their major in order to graduate, and UT ensures that meeting those basic requisites is feasible for students. “(Registration restrictions) are very much about degree completion, and helping students graduate in a timely way,” Mark Simpson, assistant vice provost for Enrollment Services and University Registrar, said.
According to Brenda Schumann, director of records and registration and deputy registrar, there are three ways colleges can restrict classes. They can restrict them to a certain group of students, such as business majors, or establish priority in a class, meaning that a certain number of spots are reserved for students of a particular major or college. They can also set up an exclusion, in which a group of students are restricted from taking the course.
Although priority restrictions are an important policy to ensure students can maintain a degree plan, the University should not use exclusion restrictions, as this is an unfair policy to those who want to take a diverse set of classes.
Biology junior Madison Round agrees that some classes should be open to more students so they can make the most of their education.
“I was trying to take Neuro 330, which is a popular class for bio majors to fulfill our physiology, neuroscience and behavior credit, ” Round said about her most recent course registration.
“It’s usually restricted during the prime time (of registration) for neuroscience majors, so we have to pick a less favorable class.”
Students sacrifice an incredible amount of time and resources to attend school here, and they should have the opportunity to make their education what they want it to be. In order to grant students this ability, UT should consider hiring more faculty to teach popular classes that are currently restricted or redistribute resources to meet the demand, or lack of, for certain courses.
If UT is to serve in an educational capacity, it needs to grant its students the freedom to make their coursework meaningful to them.
Lazaroski is an international relations and global studies sophomore from Dallas, Texas.